Chapter ISummaryDracula begins with the diary kept by Jonathan Harker—an English solicitor, or lawyer—as he makes his way from England to Eastern Europe. Embarking on his firstprofessional assignment as a solicitor, Harker is traveling to the castle of Count Dracula,a Transylvanian nobleman. Harker hopes to conclude a real estate deal to sell CountDracula a residence in London. Harker plans to take copious notes throughout his journeyso that he can share the details of his adventures with his fiancée, Mina Murray.In his first diary entry, on May 3, Harker describes the picturesque countryside of EasternEurope and the exotic food he has tasted at the roadside inns. He notes several recipesthat he plans to obtain for Mina. Harker arrives in the northern Romanian town of Bistritzand checks into a hotel Count Dracula has recommended to him. The innkeeper givesHarker a letter from the count. The letter welcomes Harker to the beautiful CarpathianMountains and informs him that he should take the next day’s coach to the Borgo Pass,where a carriage will meet him to bring him the rest of the way to the castle.As Harker prepares to leave the next morning, the innkeeper’s wife delivers an ominouswarning. She reminds Harker that it is the eve of St. George’s Day, when “all the evilthings in the world will have full sway.” She then puts a crucifix around his neck. Thoughhe is a practicing Anglican who regards Catholic paraphernalia as somewhat idolatrous,Harker politely accepts the crucifix. He is somewhat disturbed by this exchange,however, and his uneasiness increases when a crowd of peasants gathers around the innas he boards the coach. They mutter many “queer words” at Harker, which, with the helpof his dictionary, he translates to mean “were-wolf” or “vampire.”As the coach departs,everyone in the crowd makes the sign of the cross in his direction, a gesture that a fellowpassenger explains is meant to protect him from the “evil eye.”The journey to the Borgo Pass takes Harker through incomparably beautiful country. Atdusk, he passes by quaintly attired peasants kneeling in prayer at roadside shrines. Asdarkness falls, the other passengers become restless, urging the coachmen to quickentheir speed. The driver whips the horses into a frenzy and the coach rockets along themountain road. One by one, the passengers begin to offer Harker small gifts and tokensthat he assumes are also meant to ward off the evil eye.The coach soon arrives at the Borgo Pass, but there is no carriage waiting to ferry Harkerto his final destination. Just as the driver offers to bring Harker back to the pass the nextday, however, a small, horse-drawn carriage arrives. Harker boards the carriage andcontinues toward the castle. He has the impression that the carriage is covering the sameground over and over again, and he grows increasingly fearful as the ride progresses.Harker is spooked several times by the wild howling of wolves.At one point, Harker looks outside the carriage and sees a flickering blue flame burningsomewhere in the distance. The driver pulls over without explanation, inspects the flame,then returns to the carriage and continues on. Harker recounts several more stops toinspect similar flames and notes that at one point, when the driver gathers a few stonesaround one of the flames, he seems to be able to see the flame through the driver’s body.Eventually, Harker arrives, paralyzed by fear, at the dark and ruined castle.
AnalysisThough Stoker wrote Dracula well after the heyday of the Gothic novel—the period fromapproximately 1760 to 1820—the novel draws on many conventions of the genre,especially in these opening chapters. Conceived primarily as bloodcurdling tales ofhorror, Gothic novels tend to feature strong supernatural elements juxtaposed withfamiliar backdrops: dark and stormy nights, ruined castles riddled with secret passages,and forces of unlikely good pitted against those of unimaginable evil. Stoker echoes theseconventions in this chapter, as the frantic superstitions of the Carpathian peasants, thecold and desolate mountain pass, and Harker’s disorienting and threatening ride toDracula’s castle combine to create a mood of doom and dread.As contemporary readers, we may find the setting vaguely reminiscent of Halloween, butStoker’s descriptions in fact reveal a great deal about nineteenth-century Britishstereotypes of Eastern Europe. As Harker approaches Dracula’s castle, he notes that histrip has been “so strange and uncanny that a dreadful fear came upon [him].”Harker’ssense of dread illustrates his inability to comprehend the superstitions of the Carpathianpeasants.Indeed, as an Englishman who “visits the British Museum”in an attempt to understandthe lands and customs of Transylvania, Harker emerges as a model of Victorian reason, aclear product of turn-of-the-century England. Harker’s education, as well as his Westernsense of progress and propriety, disables him from making sense of such rustic traditionsas “the evil eye.” To a man of Harker’s position and education, the strange sights hewitnesses en route to the castle strike him as rare curiosities or dreams. He already beginsdoubting the reality of his experience: “I think I must have fallen asleep and keptdreaming. . . .” Harker’s inability to accept what is unknown, irrational, and unprovable isechoed by his English and American compatriots later in the novel. Harker’s experiencesuggests that the foundations of Western civilization—reason, scientific advancement,and economic domination—are threatened by the alternative knowledge that theypresume to have surpassed. Western empirical knowledge is vulnerable because it hassummarily dismissed foreign ways of thinking and, in doing so, has failed to recognizethe power of such alternative modes of thought.Harker’s description of his ascent to the castle as “uncanny” foreshadows thepsychological horror of the novel. In 1919, Sigmund Freud published an essay called“The Uncanny,” in which he analyzed the implications of feelings and sensations thatarouse “dread and horror.” Freud concludes that uncanny experiences can arise at twotimes. First, they can arise when primitive, supposedly disproved beliefs suddenly seemto be confirmed or validated once again. Second, the uncanny can arise when repressedinfantile complexes are revived. Most academic criticism of Dracula relies heavily onsuch psychoanalytic theory and argues that the novel can be seen as a case study ofrepressed instincts coming to the surface. Indeed, such a reading seems inevitable if oneconsiders Freud’s model of psychosexual development, which links the first stage of thisdevelopment—the oral stage—with the death instinct, the urge to destroy what is living.The vampire, bringing about death with his mouth, serves as a fitting embodiment ofthese abstract psychological concepts, and allows Stoker to investigate Victoriansexuality and repression.
Chapters II–IVSummary: Chapter IIJonathan Harker stands outside Dracula’s remarkable castle, wondering what sort ofadventure he has gotten himself into. After a long wait, the count appears and welcomesHarker. Clad in black, he is a tall old man, who is clean-shaven aside from a long, whitemoustache. When the two shake hands, Harker is impressed by the strength of Dracula’sgrip, but notes that the ice-cold hand is more like that of a dead man than a living one.Still, the count’s greeting is so warm that the Englishman’s fears vanish. Harker entersand takes his dinner before a roaring fire. As the two converse, Harker notices what callsDracula’s “marked physiognomy”: the count has pointed ears, exceptionally pale skin,and extremely sharp teeth. Harker’s nervousness and fears return.The next day, Harker wakes to find a note from Dracula, excusing himself for the day.Left to himself, Harker enjoys a hearty meal and, encountering no servants in the castle,explores his bedroom and the unlocked room adjacent to it. He sees expensive furniture,rich tapestries and fabrics, and a library filled with reading material in English—but notesthat there are no mirrors to be found anywhere.That evening, Dracula joins Harker for conversation in the library, as he is eager to learninflections of English speech before moving to his new estate. The men discuss thepervasiveness of evil spirits in Transylvania. Harker describes the house that the counthas purchased: it is an old mansion called Carfax, quite isolated, with only a lunaticasylum and an old chapel nearby. Dracula draws out the conversation long into the night,but abruptly leaves his guest at daybreak. The count’s strange behavior increases Harker’ssense of uneasiness.The next day, Dracula interrupts Harker shaving. Harker is startled and accidentally cutshimself. Glancing at his shaving mirror, he notices that the count has no reflection.Harker is also startled by Dracula’s reaction to the sight of his blood: the count lunges forhis guest’s throat, drawing back only after touching the string of beads that holdsHarker’s crucifix. After warning Harker against cutting himself in this country, Draculathrows the shaving mirror out a window. Left alone, Harker eats breakfast, noting that hehas never seen his host eat or drink. His suspicions aroused, he once again goesexploring, only to discover one locked door after another. Harker realizes he is a prisonerin the count’s castle.Summary: Chapter IIIThat night, Harker questions his host about the history of Transylvania. Dracula speaksenthusiastically of the country’s people and battles, and he boasts of the glories of hisfamily name. Over the course of the next several days, the count, in turn, grills Harkerabout matters of English life and law. He tells Harker to write letters to his fiancée andemployer, telling them that he will extend his stay in Transylvania by a month. Feelingobliged to his firm and overpowered by the count, Harker agrees. Preparing to take hisleave for the evening, Dracula warns his guest never to fall asleep anywhere in the castleother than his own room. Harker hangs his crucifix above his bed and, satisfied that thecount has departed, sets out to explore the castle. Peering out a window, Harker observesDracula crawling down the sheer face of the castle. He wonders what kind of creature thecount is and fears that there will be no escape.
One evening soon thereafter, Harker forces a locked room open and falls asleep, notheeding the count’s warning. Harker is visited—whether in a dream or not, he cannot say—by three beautiful women with inhumanly red lips and sharp teeth. The womenapproach him, filling him with a “wicked, burning desire.” Just as one of the voluptuouswomen bends and places her lips against his neck, Dracula sweeps in, ordering thewomen to leave Harker alone. “When I am done with him you shall kiss him at yourwill,” the count tells them. To appease the disappointed trio, Dracula offers them a bagcontaining a small, “half-smothered” child. The terrible women seem to fade out of theroom as Harker drifts into unconsciousness.Summary: Chapter IVHarker wakes up in his own bed, unsure whether the previous night’s experience was adream or reality. Several days later, Dracula asks Harker write three letters to his fiancéeand employer, and to date them June 12, 19, and 29, even though it is currently only May19. The count instructs Harker to write that he has left the castle and is safely on his wayhome.Meanwhile, a party of Gypsies has come to the castle, and Harker, hoping for a chance toescape, resolves to ask them to send a letter to Mina. Harker passes his secretcorrespondence to a Gypsy through the bars of his window. Later that evening, Draculaappears with the letter in hand, declaring that it is a vile outrage upon his friendship andhospitality, and burns it.Weeks pass. It is now mid-June, and Harker remains a prisoner. More Gypsies arrive atthe castle, and Harker sees them unloading large wooden boxes from a wagon. One day,having discovered that several articles of his clothing have disappeared for some “newscheme of villainy,” Harker witnesses the count slithering down the castle wall wearingHarker’s suit. Dracula carries a bundle much like the one earlier devoured by the threeterrible women, which convinces Harker that his host is using the disguise to commitunspeakable deeds.Later that day, a distraught woman appears at the castle gate, wailing for her child. Apack of wolves emerges from the courtyard and devours her. Desperate, Harker resolvesto scale a portion of the castle wall in order to reach Dracula’s room during the day. Hemanages the feat and finds the count’s room empty except for a heap of gold. Discoveringa dark, winding stairway, Harker follows it and encounters fifty boxes of earth in atunnel-like passage. Harker opens several of the boxes and discovers the count in one ofthem, either dead or asleep. Terrified, Harker flees back to his room.On June 29, Dracula promises Harker that he can leave the next day, but Harker requeststo leave immediately. Though his host agrees and opens the front door, Harker’sdeparture is impeded by a waiting pack of wolves. Later, overhearing the count say, “To-night is mine. To-morrow night is yours!” Harker opens his bedroom door to find thethree voluptuous women. He returns to his room and prays for his safety.In the morning, Harker wakes early and climbs down to the count’s room again. Draculais asleep as before, but looks younger and sleeker, and Harker notices blood tricklingdown from the corners of his mouth. Harker takes up a shovel, meaning to kill thevampire, but the blow glances harmlessly off the count’s forehead. Harker resolves totake some of Dracula’s gold and attempt to escape by descending the castle wall. His
entry ends with a desperate, “Good-bye, all! Mina!”Analysis: Chapters II–IVThe Author’s Note with which Dracula begins reflects a popular conceit in eighteenth-century fiction. Rather than constructing a narrative from the perspective of anomniscient third-person narrator, Stoker presents the story through transcribed journals.In effect, the novel masquerades as a real diary. Were the story told as a first-personreflection, we would be sure of the fate of the protagonist: because he is telling his tale,he must have lived through it. However, because the author of the diary writes directly asevents happen, he may be tragically unaware of the danger of his surroundings. Harkerhas no time to reflect on his experiences and no way of knowing if he is placing himselfin danger.This real-time technique is popular within the horror genre: since the narrator has no wayof knowing how the story will end, neither does the audience. The 1999 film The BlairWitch Project provides an excellent example of this conceit in recent popular culture. Thefilm purports to be the exact contents of several film reels found in a supposedly hauntedMaryland forest, shortly after a documentary film team vanished there while attemptingto record supernatural activity. Watching the film, we experience what the documentaryfilmmakers supposedly experienced, in real time, to terrifying effect.Because contemporary readers are so familiar with the vampire legend—whether in theform of The Lost Boys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Salem’s Lot, or countless otherincarnations—it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of shock and dread that Stoker’scontemporaries felt upon reading his novel. For us, the suspense more likely comes fromwatching the characters piece together the count’s puzzle.Chapter III contains one of the most discussed scenes in the novel. Drifting in and out ofconsciousness, Harker is visited by the three female vampires, who dance seductivelybefore the angry count drives them away. The women’s appearance in the room whereHarker is sleeping is undeniably sexual, as the Englishman’s characteristically staidlanguage becomes suddenly ornate. Harker notes “the ruby of their voluptuous lips” andfeels “a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me.” As he stretches beneath theadvancing women“in an agony of delightful anticipation,” his position suggests, not at allsubtly, an act of oral sex: The fair girl . . . bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. . . . The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal. . . .Harker is simultaneously confronting a vampire and another creature equally terrifying toVictorian England: an unabashedly sexual woman. The women’s voluptuousness putsthem at odds with the two English heroines, Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray, whom wesee later in the novel. The fact that the vampire women prey on a defenseless childperverts any notion of maternity, further distinguishing them from their Victoriancounterparts. These “weird sisters,” as Van Helsing later calls them, stand as a reminderof what is perhaps Dracula’s greatest threat to society: the transformation of prim, proper,and essentially sexless English ladies into uncontrollable, lustful animals.Harker spends a lot of time wondering whether this vision of repulsion and delight is real.
He is unsure whether the women actually bend closer and closer to him, or if he merelydreams of their approach. If the women are real, they threaten to drink Harker’s blood,fortifying themselves by depleting his strength. If they are merely part of a fantasticdream , as Harker suspects, they nonetheless threaten to drain him of another vital fluid—semen. Critic C.F. Bentley believes that the passage in which Harker lies “in -languorousecstasy and wait[s]—wait[s] with beating heart” suggests a nocturnal emission. Eitherway, Harker stands to be drained of a vital fluid, which to the Victorian male imaginationrepresents an overturning of the male-dominated social structure.Chapters V–VIISummary: Chapter VChapter V consists of several letters and a diary entry. In England, Mina Murray and herfriend, Lucy Westenra, exchange letters about their respective romances. Mina is anassistant schoolmistress whose desire to be useful to her future husband has led her tostudy shorthand and typewriting. She happily reports that her fiancé, Jonathan Harker,has written that he is on his way home. Lucy replies with tales of her own marriageprospects. She has entertained proposals from several men, including Dr. John Seward—the director of a lunatic asylum in London—and a rich American named Quincey Morris.Her heart, however, belongs to a gentleman named Arthur Holmwood, whose proposalshe has accepted.The women’s correspondence is followed by a diary entry, on phonograph, by Dr.Seward. The doctor admits his unhappiness at Lucy’s rebuff, but occupies himself with aninteresting new patient, a man named Renfield. Following this entry is a congratulatoryletter from Quincey Morris to Arthur Holmwood.Summary: Chapter VIIn her journal, Mina describes her visit with Lucy in the picturesque town of Whitby, onthe northeast coast of England, and the ruined abbey there that is reputed to be haunted.Mr. Swales, an elderly resident who befriends the two girls and tells them stories aboutthe town, scoffs at such legends. Mr. Swales asserts that most of the graves in the Whitbychurchyard are empty, as their supposed occupants were lost at sea. After Swales departs,Mina listens to Lucy’s wedding plans and notes sadly that she has not heard fromJonathan for a month.John Seward continues to report the curious case of Renfield in his diary. The patient hasthe curious habit of consuming living creatures. He uses sugar to trap flies, uses flies totrap spiders, and uses spiders to trap sparrows. He delights as one creature consumesanother and believes that he himself draws strength by eating these creatures. Sewardclassifies Renfield as a “zoöphagous”—or life-eating—maniac who desires to “absorb asmany lives as he can.”Meanwhile, Mina expresses anxiety over her missing fiancé and over Lucy, who hasbegun to sleepwalk during the night. Although she seems healthy, Lucy exhibits an “oddconcentration” that Mina does not understand. While out walking one day, Minaencounters Mr. Swales, who tells her that he senses his own death is likely not far off. Heassures her that he is not afraid of dying and that death is “all that we can rightly depend
on.” Mina and Mr. Swales see a ship drifting about offshore as if no one were at the helm.Guessing the vessel to be “Russian, by the look of her,” Mr. Swales assures Mina thatthey will surely hear more about it.Summary: Chapter VIITwo newspaper clippings indicate that the ship Mina and Mr. Swales have seen, a vesselcalled the Demeter, later washes up on the shore at Whitby during a terrific storm. Itscrew is nowhere to be found, while its captain, dead and clasping a crucifix, is discoveredtied to the wheel. When the ship runs aground, a huge dog leaps from the hold anddisappears into the countryside. The Demeter’s only cargo is a number of large woodenboxes, which are delivered to a Whitby solicitor.Selections from the captain’s log of the Demeter follow, describing the ship’s voyage toEngland from the Russian port of Varna. The trip starts off well, but ten days into thevoyage, a crewmember is found missing. Soon thereafter, another sailor spots a tall, thinman who is not like any of the crew. A search of the ship finds no stowaways, but everyfew days another sailor disappears. The crew becomes numb with fear, and the first matebegins to go mad. By the time the ship reaches the English coast, only four men remain tosail it. A great fog settles over them, preventing them from reaching harbor. After twomore sailors vanish, the first mate goes below to find the intruder, only to rush out of thehold and throw himself into the sea. That night, in order to “baffle this fiend or monster,”the captain resolves to lash himself and his crucifix to the wheel and to stay with his shipto the end.The narrative returns to Mina’s journal. Mina describes the night of the dreaded storm,her fears for Jonathan, and her concern for Lucy, who continues to sleepwalk. On the dayof the sea captain’s funeral, Mina reports that Lucy is increasingly restless. One reasonfor Lucy’s agitation, Mina believes, is the recent death of Mr. Swales, who was founddead with a broken neck and a look of horror on his face.Analysis: Chapters V–VIIIn Gothic literature, the battle between well-defined forces of good and evil frequentlydominates plots. In Dracula, that battle is largely waged over the fate of its femaleprotagonists, Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray. Neither Mina nor Lucy is a particularlyprofound character—instead, both represent the Victorian ideal of female virtue. The twosets of women we have seen thus far in the novel stand in stark and obvious opposition toeach other: Lucy and Mina represent purity and goodness, while the predatory sisters inDracula’s castle represent corruption and evil. The count threatens womanly virtue, as thefrighteningly voluptuous sisters testify to his ability to transform ladies into sex-crazed“devils of the Pit.”Both Lucy and Mina face the threat of such transformation later in the novel. It is perhapsno surprise that, of the two, Lucy falls most disastrously under Dracula’s spell. AlthoughLucy’s letters pay homage to a certain male fantasy of domination—“My dear Mina, whyare men so noble when we women are so little worthy of them?”—they also reveal thatshe is a sexualized being. Lucy is not only an object of desire who garners three marriageproposals in a single day, but is herself capable of desiring others. Lucy writes: “Whycan’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble?”Though Lucy immediately condemns her own words as “heresy,” her apology does not
blot out her desire to experience life beyond the narrow confines of conventionalmorality.Mina and Lucy’s correspondence contrasts sharply with the terror-filled journal entriesthat comprise the first four chapters. The London society that Mina, Lucy, and Dr.Seward inhabit is marked by order, reason, and progress: Mina is a schoolmistress whooccupies herself with shorthand and typewriting lessons, while Seward, ever hopeful ofdiagnosing and curing his mentally ill patients, records his diary entries on a newfangledphonograph. The world that Dracula inhabits, in contrast, is ruled by the seeminglyimpossible or unexplainable: people neither age nor die, and men crawl down sheerwalls. Dracula’s foreign presence threatens to overturn the whole of Western culture bysubverting carefully constructed and policed morals and by allowing superstition totrump logic.Lucy’s and Mina’s letters also introduce most of the main characters we see in theremainder of the novel. Lucy describes her three suitors, who are largely two-dimensionalcharacters: Seward is a serious intellectual, Quincey Morris a slang-talking Texan, andArthur Holmwood is a bland nobleman. Stoker is more -concerned with creating a bandof men whose goodness is -unquestionable than with creating complex, multifacetedcharacters. This characterization sets up a framework for a clear-cut moral battle later inthe novel.The colorful character of Mr. Swales is noteworthy for two reasons. First, as anunapologetic skeptic, Swales stands in contrast to the Eastern European peasants, whoselives are ruled by superstitions. When Mina directs their conversation to local legends,Swales responds, “It be all fool-talk, lock, stock and barrel; that’s what it be, an’ nowtelse.” Though uneducated, Swales stands as a product of Western society: he is toocommitted to reason to allow for the existence of “bans an’ wafts an’ boh-ghostsan’barguests an’ bogles.” Swales is also noteworthy because he exemplifies Stoker’sdedication to capturing regional dialects. Van Helsing and many of the novel’s secondarycharacters speak with heavy accents that the author transcribes carefully. But some criticshave pointed out that Stoker relies less on a precise ear than on stereotype to generate hischaracters’ dialogue. In Chapter V, for instance, Quincey’s proposal to Lucy Westenrareads like a parody of the language patterns of the American South: “Miss Lucy, I know Iain’t good enough to regulate the fixin’s of your little shoes, but . . . won’t you just hitchup alongside of me and let us go down the long road together, driving in double harness?”Another significant character introduced in this section is Renfield, Dr. Seward’s“zoöphagous” maniac. Renfield’s consumption of flies, spiders, and sparrows is spurredby his belief that their lives are transferred into his own, providing him with strength andvitality. Renfield’s habit mirrors the count’s means of sustenance and confirms Stoker’sconcern with the relationship between humans and beasts. From a psychoanalyticstandpoint, the desire to consume is a primal urge to incorporate an object into one’s selfand at the same time to destroy the object.Largely because of the relatively recent publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin ofSpecies (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), Victorian society was anxious about suchprimal urges, seeking to keep them hidden beneath the veneers of science, art, and politeconversation. Darwin’s works questioned the centuries-old belief in creationism andtoppled the previously unassailable hierarchy of man over beast. Humans were no longer
the undisputed crown of creation—they were merely another link in a great chain.Although the last decades of the eighteenth and first decades of the nineteenth centurywere ripe with scientific advancements, they were also marked by a profound sense ofuneasiness at having to abandon old and refuted, but nevertheless comfortable, modes ofthought. Thus, because it confirms the animalistic and possibly savage nature of humanbeings, Renfield’s behavior would have caused no small shock among Stoker’s originalreaders. In Seward’s lunatic, we see how fine a line separates the beast from the drawing-room dandy.Chapters VIII–IXSummary: Chapter VIIIOn August 10, Mina awakens to find Lucy’s bed empty. She goes outside to find Lucyand sees her in the churchyard, reclining on her favorite bench with a dark figure bendingover her. As Mina approaches, the figure looks toward her, exposing a pale face andgleaming red eyes. By the time Mina reaches Lucy, however, the figure is gone. Lucy isapparently asleep but gasping for breath, so Mina wraps her in a shawl and leads herhome. When Lucy wakes, Mina finds “two little red points like pin-pricks”on her friend’sneck, and decides that she must have accidentally pricked Lucy while helping her pin hershawl.Lucy attempts to sleepwalk again the following two nights, but Mina thwarts Lucy’sefforts by locking the bedroom door. Later, the two women go for a walk together. As thesun sets, they see a dark figure in the graveyard, and Lucy comments on the red glint ofhis eyes. That night, Mina awakes to find Lucy sitting up in bed, pointing to the window.Mina looks outside and sees a large bat fluttering in the moonlight. When she turnsaround, she finds Lucy sleeping peacefully. During the next few days, Lucy grows paleand haggard, and the puncture wounds at her throat grow larger. Mina worries about thewell-being of her friends: about Lucy’s failing health; about Lucy’s mother, who is too illto bear any anxiety over Lucy’s state; and about the still-missing Jonathan Harker.Mina’s journal entry is followed by a letter from a Whitby solicitor, ordering the boxes ofearth from the Demeter to be delivered to the estate of Carfax, the house Dracula haspurchased. We return to Mina’s diary, where she writes that Lucy’s health seems to beimproving. News comes that Jonathan has appeared in a Hungarian hospital in Buda-Pest,suffering from brain fever. Mina prepares to leave England to be with Jonathan.The narrative shifts to John Seward’s accounts of his patient Renfield, who has grownboth violent and boastful, telling the doctor that “the Master is at hand.” One night,Renfield escapes and runs to Carfax, where Dr. Seward finds him pressing against thedoor of the mansion’s chapel, calling out to his master and promising obedience. Theattendants return Renfield to his cell, where he begs his master to be patient.Summary: Chapter IXMina writes from Buda-Pest, telling Lucy that Jonathan has changed greatly. He is “awreck of himself” and remembers nothing of his time in Transylvania. The nun tending toJonathan confides in Mina that he often raves deliriously about unspeakable things.Jonathan is still in possession of his diary and knows that the cause of his brain fever is
recorded in it. He turns the diary over to Mina, making her promise that she will nevermention what is written there unless some “solemn duty” requires it. The couple decidesto marry immediately, and Mina seals the diary shut with wax, promising never to open itexcept in a dire emergency. Lucy sends Mina a letter of congratulation.Meanwhile, Renfield has become more docile, repeatedly mumbling, “I can wait; I canwait.” A few days later, however, he escapes again and turns up once more at the door ofthe chapel at Carfax. When Dr. John Seward follows with his attendants, Renfield movesto attack, but grows calm at the sight of a great bat sweeping across the face of the moon.Lucy begins a diary, in which she records bad dreams and recounts that somethingscratches at her window in the night. Concerned that Lucy has become pale and weakagain, Arthur Holmwood writes to Dr. Seward, asking him to examine her. Seward doesso, and reports that Lucy’s illness is beyond his experience. He sends for his formerteacher, the celebrated Professor Van Helsing of Amsterdam, to examine the girl. VanHelsing arrives, observes Lucy, and then returns home briefly, asking to be kept abreastof Lucy’s condition by telegram. He tells Seward that he cannot ascertain the cause ofLucy’s illness, but concurs that much of her blood has been lost.Renfield, meanwhile, resumes his habit of catching flies. However, when the doctorcomes to see Renfield at sunset, he tosses out his flies, claiming that he is “sick of all thatrubbish.” Lucy seems to show improvement for a few days, as Seward’s telegrams to VanHelsing relate. On September 6, however, there is a terrible change for the worse, and thedoctor begs his old master to come immediately.Analysis: Chapters VIII–IXDracula’s portrayal of women makes the novel seem like a fantasy of the Victorian maleimagination. Women are primarily objects of delicate beauty who occasionally need to berescued from danger—a task that, more than anything else, ends up bolstering the ego oftheir male saviors. Indeed, among the female characters in the novel, only Mina exercisesany considerable strength or resourcefulness. The other women are primarily two-dimensional victims, pictures of perfection who are easy for Dracula to prey upon. BothLucy and her mother are helplessly weak, and the latter is too delicate to bear even thesuggestion that something is amiss with her daughter’s health.Despite the profound political and social change that crossed England in the latenineteenth century, Stoker displays little interest in the advancement of women. ThoughMina brightly—albeit briefly—considers one of the promises of feminism, the novel as awhole does not align itself with her cause. In reference to Lucy’s recent engagement,Mina writes, Some of the ‘New Women’ writers will some day start an idea that men and women should be allowed to see each other asleep before proposing or accepting. But I suppose the New Woman won’t condescend in future to accept; she will do the proposing herself. And a nice job she will make of it, too!While Mina herself approaches this kind of self-reliance—after all, it is her research thatlater leads Van Helsing’s band to the count’s castle—she never fully graduates into thenew womanhood she describes here.Given Stoker’s obsessive concern with female chastity and virtue, it is hard to imagine
him granting his female characters the degree of sexual freedom necessary to become“New Women.” In fact, these chapters make the erotic nature of Dracula’s attacks evenmore obvious. Lucy’s wounds suggest a virgin’s first sexual encounter: she escapes intothe night and is penetrated in a way that makes her bleed. After this initial encounter,Lucy hungers for more, attempting to steal out of the house and return to the graveyard.Although Mina does not yet realize the nature of her friend’s sleepwalking excursions,she is filled with anxiety not only for Lucy’s health, but also for “her reputation in casethe story should get wind.”Already viewed to some degree as a dangerous sexualadventurer, Lucy begins her transformation from a pure maiden into a figure of femalewantonness. In this sense, Dracula threatens not merely a single girl, but also the entiremoral order of the Victorian world and its ideals of sexual purity.The epistolary form of the novel allows Stoker to maintain suspense throughout, not onlykeeping us in the dark, but also keeping his own characters guessing at the nature of theirown predicaments. Indeed, at this point in the novel, we know much more than any oneindividual character does. Though we understand the implications of the shipment ofearth that arrives at Carfax, Dr. Seward does not, which means he has no way to explainthe increasingly drastic behavior of his patient, Renfield. Continuing with this techniqueand permitting the events to unfold in the present tense allows Stoker to achieve animpressive amount of suspense.Chapters X–XISummary: Chapter XSeward and Holmwood are concerned about Lucy’s suddenly failing health. When VanHelsing arrives to find Lucy terribly pale and unable to breathe easily, he transfusesHolmwood’s blood into Lucy. The doctors examine the punctures on Lucy’s neck.Though Seward is convinced that these wounds caused her severe loss of blood, he canoffer no explanation for them. Van Helsing orders Seward to stay up with Lucy that night.The young doctor does so, and Lucy awakes feeling much restored.The following night, however, the exhausted Seward falls asleep on his watch. The nextmorning, he and Van Helsing find Lucy pale and completely drained of strength, hergums shrunken and her lips white. Seward performs another transfusion, this timeproviding the blood himself. Attempting to sleep, Seward wakes to thoughts of thepunctures on Lucy’s neck and the ragged appearance of their edges. That afternoon, alarge package arrives for Van Helsing. It contains white garlic flowers, which VanHelsing orders Lucy to wear around her neck. Under the skeptical gaze of Seward, VanHelsing places garlic flowers all around the room and leaves Lucy, assuring Seward thatshe will now be able to sleep safely.Summary: Chapter XIIn the morning, Van Helsing and Dr. Seward return to the Westenra residence. They aregreeted by Lucy’s mother, who tells them that during the night she removed all the“horrible, strong-smelling flowers”from Lucy’s room and opened the windows to let infresh air. After Mrs. Westenra leaves the room, Van Helsing nearly crumbles. He andSeward rush to their patient to find her near death. Only another blood transfusion from
Van Helsing resuscitates her. Van Helsing warns Mrs. Westenra never to remove anythingfrom Lucy’s room again. For the next four days all is well, and Lucy reports that she feelsmuch better.A clipping from the Pall Mall Gazette reports that a large wolf escaped from theZoological Gardens. The animal returns the next morning, covered in broken glass.Seward’s September 17 diary entry reports that Renfield attacks the young doctor in hisoffice, and cuts the doctor’s wrist. Renfield proceeds to lick up the blood, and repeats,over and over, the phrase, “The blood is the life!”Van Helsing telegrams Seward that day, advising him to spend the night with Lucy, butthere is a delay and the message does not arrive until the following morning. OnSeptember 17, the night of the wolf’s escape, Lucy awakens, frightened by a flapping atthe window and a howling outside. Mrs. Westenra is also scared by the noise and comesin and joins her daughter in bed. Suddenly, the window shatters and the head of a hugewolf appears. Terrified, Lucy’s mother tears the garlic wreath from her daughter’s neckand suffers a fatal heart attack. As Lucy loses consciousness, she sees the wolf draw hishead back from the window. The four household maids enter, horrified by the sight oftheir dead mistress. The women go into the dining room to have a glass of wine, but thewine is drugged and they all pass out. Left defenseless and alone, Lucy hides her latestdiary entry in her bodice, hoping that “they shall find it when they come to lay me out.”Analysis: Chapters X–XISeward’s inability to diagnose or stem the progression of Lucy’s illness demonstrates theeffectiveness of Dracula’s assault on Victorian social order and also exposes the limits ofWestern science and reason. Only legend and superstition—not reason and science—areeffective in fighting Dracula. Even the many advancements of medical science proveuseless. Maintaining an open mind and acknowledging the power of superstition, VanHelsing challenges the rigorous confines of Victorian thought. Although Van Helsingproves himself a competent modern surgeon by performing one blood transfusion afteranother, neither his methods nor his knowledge are restricted to the teachings of Westernmedicine. As he places garlic flowers around Lucy’s room, he steps outside the role ofdoctor and becomes more of a “philosopher and a metaphysician.” One of the mainironies of the novel is that the Londoners are made vulnerable to Dracula’s attacksprecisely because they live in a world that encourages them to dismiss such supernaturalpredators as powerless in a civilized society such as Britain.Though Lucy’s blood transfusions occur so frequently as to seem almost comical, theyserve two important metaphorical functions. First, the transfusions confirm the moralpurity of the men who submit to them for Lucy’s sake. If there were ever any doubt aboutthe moral righteousness of Van Helsing and his compatriots, Stoker means to dispel ithere. The blood itself is characterized as morally outstanding: preparing Holmwood forthe first transfusion, Van Helsing points out that his patient “is so young and strong andof blood so pure that we need not defibrinate it.”Second, the transfusions hint at a kind of sexual intimacy that societal constraintsprevented Stoker from writing about openly in the 1890s. The transfer of the men’s bloodinto Lucy’s veins has physiological effects similar to those of sexual intercourse:afterward, the men feel spent, but the act brings a revitalized flush of color to Lucy’s
cheek. More important, the characters themselves suggest a parallel between the two acts.Van Helsing not only says that it might be improper for Arthur to learn that other menhave donated their blood to his fiancée, but also makes a direct connection between bloodand sexuality: “No man knows, till he experiences it, what it is to feel his own life-blooddrawn away into the veins of the woman he loves.”Van Helsing’s comments could well be the words a popular romance novelist rather thana medical professional. However, the link Van Helsing makes is crucial to establishingthe scope of Dracula’s threat. As Dracula repeatedly drains Lucy of her transfused blood,he comes to possess not only Lucy’s body, but also the bodies of all the men who haveoffered her their blood. In this way, the count begins to make good on his threat to thethree weird sisters in Chapter III—if his power goes unchecked, all of these men willindeed “belong to [him].”Chapters XII–XIVSummary: Chapter XIIThe narrative returns to Seward’s diary entries. Arriving at the Westenras’ the next day,Van Helsing and Seward find the scene of destruction: the maids unconscious on thedining room floor, Mrs. Westenra dead, and Lucy once again at death’s door, withterrible, mangled wounds at her neck. Neither of the men can spare any more blood, butLucy’s third suitor, Quincey Morris, appears and agrees to take part in a transfusion.Puzzled, Morris asks what has become of all the blood that has already been transferredto Lucy. Holmwood arrives. His father’s recent death, combined with the loss of Mrs.Westenra and Lucy’s failing health, nearly makes him despondent, but his presence helpsrally his fiancée’s spirits.Unaware of what has befallen Lucy, Mina writes a letter informing Lucy that she andJonathan have married and have returned to England. Dr. Seward’s assistant writes to tellhim that Renfield escaped again and attacked two men carrying boxes of earth fromCarfax. Van Helsing surrounds his dying patient with garlic, but she pushes the flowersaway as she sleeps. When Seward checks on Lucy during the night, he notices a bathovering near her window. On the morning of September 20, the wounds on Lucy’s neckdisappear. Sensing that Lucy is nearing the end of her life, the doctors awaken Holmwoodand bring him to say good-bye. In a strangely seductive voice, Lucy begs Holmwood tokiss her, but Van Helsing pulls him away, instructing him to kiss Lucy only on theforehead. Holmwood complies with Van Helsing’s instructions, and Lucy dies,recovering in death the beauty that she lost during her long illness.Summary: Chapter XIIISeward’s diary continues, as he describes Lucy’s burial. Before the funeral, Van Helsingcovers the coffin and body with garlic and places a crucifix in Lucy’s mouth. He tells aconfused Seward that after the funeral, they must cut off Lucy’s head and take out herheart. The next day, however, Van Helsing discovers that someone has stolen the crucifixfrom the body and tells Seward that they will have to wait before doing anything more.The heartbroken Holmwood—referred to as Lord Godalming since his father’s death—turns to Seward for consolation. Looking at Lucy’s unnaturally lovely corpse, Holmwood
cannot believe she is really dead. Van Helsing asks Holmwood for Lucy’s personalpapers, hoping that they will provide some clue as to the cause of her death.Meanwhile, Mina writes in her diary that in London she and Jonathan have seen a tall,fierce man with a black mustache and beard. Jonathan is convinced the man is CountDracula. Jonathan becomes so upset that he slips into a deep sleep and remembersnothing when he wakes. Mina decides that, for the sake of her husband’s health, she mustread his diary entries from his time in Transylvania.That night, Mina receives a telegram informing her of Lucy’s death. This message isfollowed by an excerpt from a local paper, which reports that a number of children havebeen temporarily abducted in Hampstead Heath—the area where Lucy was buried—by astrange woman whom the children call the “Bloofer Lady.” When the children returnhome, they bear strange wounds on their necks.Summary: Chapter XIVTranscribing her husband’s journal, Mina is horrified by its contents. When Van Helsingvisits Mina in order to discuss the events leading up to Lucy’s death, she is so impressedthat she gives him Jonathan’s diary to read. Van Helsing reads the diary and returns to seethe couple at breakfast the next day. Van Helsing’s belief in Jonathan’s observationsrestores the young man’s memories of his time in Transylvania. Realizing that Draculamust indeed have journeyed to England, Harker begins a new diary.Seward reports that Renfield has returned to his habit of catching flies and spiders. VanHelsing visits the young doctor and points out the newspaper accounts of the “BlooferLady,” taking care to note that the abducted children always reappear with wounds ontheir necks similar to those that appeared on Lucy’s neck. Seward is skeptical of anyconnection, but his mentor urges him to believe in the possibility of the supernatural—ofoccurrences that cannot be explained by reason. Van Helsing suddenly concludes that itmust be Lucy who is responsible for the marks on the children’s necks.Analysis: Chapters XII–XIVIn this section, we witness Lucy’s transformation into a super-natural creature. Thedescription of her death immediately alerts us that she has crossed into the realm of thesupernatural: the wounds on her neck disappear and all of her “loveliness [comes] back toher in death.” The clippings about the threatening “Bloofer Lady” make it clear that Lucyhas indeed become a vampire. Dracula’s attack has transformed a model of Englishchastity and purity into an openly sexual predator. When Holmwood visits Lucy for thelast time, her physical appeal startles him: “she looked her best, with all the soft linesmatching the angelic beauty of her eyes.” Equally startling is the newfound forwardnesswith which she demands sexual satisfaction:“Arthur! Oh, my love, I am so glad you havecome! Kiss me!” Dracula’s power has indeed topped one former example of the Victorianfemale ideal.Lucy’s body also becomes a metaphorical battleground between the forces of good andevil, between the forces for liberation and repression of female sexuality. While Draculafights for control of Lucy, through whom he believes he can access many Englishmen,Van Helsing’s crew pumps her full of brave men’s blood, which they believe is the “bestthing on this earth when a woman is in trouble.” This battle reflects the struggle ofVictorian society to recognize and accept female sexuality. Victorian England prized
women for their docility and domesticity, leaving them no room for open expression ofsexual desire, even within the confines of marriage. Mina, though married, appears noless chaste than Lucy. This obsession with purity was pervasive: less than twenty yearsbefore the publication of Dracula, medical authorities still believed that a menstruatingwoman could spoil meat simply by touching it.Van Helsing articulates these prejudices of the Victorian age as he praises Mina’scharacter, saying: She is one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist—and that, let me tell you, is much in this age, so skeptical and selfish.”Van Helsing’s statement implies that a woman who cannot manage this much truth,sweetness, nobility, and modesty has no place in Victorian society. Though Lucypossesses all of these in plenty, she also betrays a fatal flaw: her openness to sexualadventure. Recalling Van Helsing’s lesson in vampire lore, we know that Dracula ispowerless to enter a home unless invited. The count thus would not have been able toaccess Lucy’s bedroom unless she invited him in. Though no character ever blames Lucyfor her susceptibility to seduction—or even mentions it—we are aware that the youngwoman has fallen from grace. Victorian society firmly dictated that wantonness came at ahigh price, and in Dracula, Lucy pays dearly.Chapters XV–XVIIISummary: Chapter XVSeward is appalled by Van Helsing’s suggestion that Lucy is in some way responsible forthe rash of wounded children. However, due to his respect for the elder doctor, heaccompanies Van Helsing on his investigation. The two men visit one of the woundedchildren and find that the marks on the child’s neck are identical to Lucy’s. That night,Seward and Van Helsing proceed to Lucy’s tomb, open the coffin, and find it empty.Seward suggests that a grave robber might have taken the corpse, but Van Helsinginstructs him to keep watch at one side of the churchyard.Near dawn, Seward witnesses a “white streak” moving between the trees. He and VanHelsing approach and find a child lying nearby, but Seward still refuses to believe thatLucy is responsible for any wrongdoing. Only after they return to Lucy’s tomb, findingher restored to her coffin and “radiantly beautiful,” does Seward feel the “horrid sense ofthe reality of things.” Van Helsing explains that Lucy belongs to the “Un-Dead” andinsists that she must be decapitated, her mouth filled with garlic, and a stake driventhrough her heart. The two men meet with Arthur Holmwood and Quincey Morris, andVan Helsing explains what must be done. Holmwood is opposed to mutilating hisfiancée’s corpse, but finally agrees to accompany them to the graveyard.Summary: Chapter XVIThat night, the four men go to Lucy’s grave and find it empty. Van Helsing seals the door
of the tomb with Communion wafers to prevent the vampire Lucy from reentering. Themen then hide in wait. Eventually, a figure appears, dressed entirely in white and carryinga child. It is Lucy—or rather, a monster that looks like Lucy, with eyes “unclean and fullof hell-fire” and a mouth stained with fresh blood. As the men surround her, she drops thechild and calls out passionately to Holmwood, telling him to come to her. Holmwoodbegins to move, but Van Helsing leaps between the couple and brandishes a crucifix.Lucy recoils. Van Helsing quickly removes the Communion wafers, and the vampire slipsthrough the door of her tomb.Having witnessed this horror, Holmwood concurs that the necessary rites must beperformed, and the following evening, he returns to hammer a stake through Lucy’s heart.As Lucy returns to a state of beauty, Van Helsing reassures Holmwood that he has savedLucy’s soul from eternal darkness and has given her peace at last. Before leaving thetomb, Van Helsing makes plans to reunite with the men two nights later, so that they maydiscuss the “terrible task” before them.Summary: Chapter XVIIAt Van Helsing’s urging, Jonathan and Mina Harker come to stay with Seward at theasylum. Mina transcribes Seward’s diary with the typewriter and notes its account ofLucy’s death. Meanwhile, Seward reads the Harkers’ journals, realizing for the first timethat Dracula may well be his next-door neighbor and that there may be a connectionbetween the vampire’s proximity and Renfield’s behavior. The lunatic Renfield is calm atthe moment, and Seward wonders what this tranquility indicates about Dracula’swhereabouts.Meanwhile, Jonathan researches the boxes of earth that were shipped from Transylvaniato England. He discovers that all fifty were delivered to the chapel at Carfax, but worriesthat some might have been moved elsewhere in recent weeks. Mina notes that Harkerseems to have fully recovered from his ordeal in Transylvania. Holmwood and Morrisarrive at the asylum, and, clearly, Holmwood is still terribly shaken by Lucy’s death.Summary: Chapter XVIIIWith Seward’s permission, Mina visits Renfield. The madman frantically swallows hiscollection of flies and spiders before she enters, but is extremely polite and seems rationalin her presence. Van Helsing arrives at the asylum. Pleased to see that Seward’s diariesand letters have been typed and placed in order, he compliments Mina on her work buthopes that she will be spared a role in the business before them. The destruction of thevampire, he notes, is “no part for a woman.”Van Helsing gathers the entire company and tells them the legend of the nosferatu, or“Un-Dead.” He says that such creatures are immortal and immensely strong; havecommand over various animals and the elements; and can vanish and change form at will.However, they also have certain weaknesses: they cannot survive without blood; cannotenter a house unless summoned; lose their power at daybreak, at which time they mustseek shelter in the earth or a coffin; and are powerless before crucifixes, Communionwafers, and other holy objects. To kill Dracula, Van Helsing says they must first trackdown his fifty boxes of earth. He also resolves that Mina must not be burdened with orendangered by the details of their work. The men tell Mina that they “are men and areable to bear; but you must be our star and our hope.”
The entire company asks to see Renfield. They gather, and he makes a remarkablyrational and passionate plea to be released at once in order to avoid terrible consequences.Fearing that this sudden display of sanity is but “another form or phase of his madness,”Seward denies Renfield’s request.Analysis: Chapters XV–XVIIIIn this section, Lucy’s transformation reaches its terrible end. Lucy is now a perversion ofthe two most sacred female virtues in Victorian England: maternalism and sexual purity.In Chapter XVII, Mina voices an expectation of Victorian culture when she writes, “Wewomen have something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matterswhen the mother-spirit is invoked.” Like the three women Harker meets in Dracula’scastle, the undead Lucy counters this “mother-spirit” by preying on innocent children.Rather than providing them with nourishment and protection, she stalks and feeds onthem. The hideous transformation of this once beautiful woman into a demonic child-killer demonstrates the anxiety the Victorians felt about women whose sexual behaviorchallenged convention.Van Helsing’s band of do-gooders feels this same anxiety about female sexuality as theyface off against its hypersexualized opponent. As the men confront Lucy, whose purityhas changed to “voluptuous wantonness,” we note the rather limited vocabulary Stokeruses to paint the scene. Lucy is described almost exclusively in terms of her sexuality: herface becomes “wreathed with a voluptuous smile,”and she advances with “outstretchedarms and a wanton smile.” Lucy’s words to Holmwood echo her dying wish for his kiss:“Come to me, Arthur. . . . My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together.Come, my husband, come!” Her words are both a plea for and a promise of sexualsatisfaction. Van Helsing and his crew’s response to Lucy’s words illustrate that the menare certainly aware of the words’ double meaning. The men are equally attracted to andhorrified by the woman who would make such a bold proposition: “There was somethingdiabolically sweet in her tones . . . which rang through the brains even of us who heardthe words addressed to another. As for Arthur, he seemed under a spell; moving his handsfrom his face, he opened wide his arms.” Dracula’s power is indeed considerable, as ittempts even morally righteous men who are aware of the count’s diabolical plans.Tempted as the men are by Lucy’s carnal embrace, they are equally eager to destroy her.Throughout the descriptions of Lucy’s voluptuousness runs a strong indication of themen’s desire to annihilate her. Dr. Seward writes, “[T]he remnant of my love passed intohate and loathing; had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight.”Having paid for sexual curiosity with her eternal soul, Lucy must now pay an equallysteep price for her sexual appetite.The act of Lucy’s final destruction strongly resembles an act of sexual congress.Holmwood’s piercing of Lucy with his stake unmistakably suggests intercourse: her body“shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions. . . . But Arthur never faltered . . .driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake.” Holmwood’s attack restores Lucy’spurity and soul, thus implying that Holmwood returns Lucy to the socially desirable stateof monogamy and submission. As her fiancé, Holmwood cleanses the “carnal andunspiritual” from Lucy by consummating a sexual relationship that, without Dracula’sinterference, would have not only been consecrated by God, but also would havelegitimized Lucy’s troublesome sexual desires.
Chapters XIX–XXISummary: Chapter XIXThe men make the journey to Carfax, arming themselves with holy objects for protection.There is no sign of Dracula in the chapel, but there is a terrible stench, and the men findtwenty-nine of the original fifty boxes of earth. To the men’s horror, rats begin to fill thechapel. The men use a whistle to summon dogs that chase away the rats. Van Helsing’sspirits are high despite the fact that twenty-one boxes are missing. Upon returning to theasylum, Van Helsing asks to see Renfield again. Hoping to use the lunatic as a source ofinformation, Van Helsing attempts an interview. Renfield curses Van Helsing and refusesto cooperate.Mina records her mounting anxieties in her diary. One night in the asylum, she wakes upafter hearing strange sounds from Renfield’s room and finds that her window is openeven though she is certain she closed it. Mina stares out the window at a thin streak ofwhite mist that slowly creeps across the yard toward the asylum, seeming to have a“sentience and a vitality of its own.” Mina sleeps fitfully and wakes to find a “pillar ofcloud” in her room. She sees a “livid white face” bending over her, but assumes thisfigure is merely part of her dream.Summary: Chapter XXHarker’s investigations reveal that twelve of the remaining boxes of earth were depositedin two houses in London. He traces the remaining nine boxes to a house in Piccadilly, aLondon suburb. Harker’s companions worry over how they will manage to break into ahouse in such a highly populated area.Seward chronicles rapid changes in Renfield’s behavior. The patient seems to have givenup his interest in zoöphagy, but -reiterates his earlier desire, saying, “Life is all I want.”Seward questions Renfield, asking him how he accounts for the souls of the lives he plansto collect. Renfield becomes agitated at the inquiry, claiming that he has enough to worryabout without thinking of souls. Seward concludes that his patient dreads theconsequences of his life-gathering hobbies, which burden his soul. The followingevening, the asylum attendants hear a scream and find Renfield lying in his cell, coveredin blood.Summary: Chapter XXIDying, Renfield admits to the other men that Dracula often visited him, promising himflies, spiders, and other living creatures from which to gain strength in return forRenfield’s obedience. Later, when Mina visited him, Renfield noted her paleness andrealized that Dracula had been “taking the life out of her.” He grew angry, and when thecount slipped into his room that night, Renfield attempted to seize him. The vampire’seyes “burned” him, and he was flung violently across the room as Dracula slipped awayinto the asylum.The four men rush upstairs to the Harkers’ room. Finding it locked, they break down thedoor on a terrible scene: Jonathan lies unconscious, Mina kneels on the edge of the bed,and the count stands over her as she drinks from a wound on his breast. Dracula turns on
the intruders, his eyes flaming with “devilish passion,” but Van Helsing holds up a sacredCommunion wafer and the count retreats. The moonlight fades, and the men light a gaslamp. All that is left of the count is a faint vapor escaping under the door. Morris chases itand sees a bat flying away from Carfax. Meanwhile, the men discover that the count hastorn apart their study in an attempt to destroy their papers and diaries. Fortunately, theyhave kept duplicate copies in a safe.Mina and Jonathan regain consciousness. Mina says that she awoke that night to findJonathan unconscious beside her and Dracula stepping out of a mist. The countthreatened to kill her husband if Mina made a sound. He drank blood from her throat,telling her that it was not the first time he had done so. Then, slicing his own chest open,he pressed her lips to the cut and forced her to drink his blood. Dracula mocked hispursuers and assured Mina that he would make her “flesh of my flesh.” Mina cries out,“God pity me! Look down on a poor soul in worse than mortal peril!”Analysis: Chapters XIX–XXIIn these chapters, Mina stands ready as the count’s next victim. When she writes that“sleep begins to flirt with me,” we know that it is Dracula—not sleep—that is seducingher during the night. These suspicions are confirmed in Chapter XXI, when, in one of thenovel’s strangest and most debated scenes, Van Helsing’s crew barges in upon Dracula’sfeeding frenzy. The scene, which likely shocks us as much as it does the men, challengesgender conventions in several ways. First, neither of the men appears to be the aggressor.Rather than jumping to his wife’s defense, Harker sprawls on the bed, while Dracula,rather than feeding, is fed upon. Although the count forces her into the position, Mina isin effect the instigator as she actively sucks from the wound on Dracula’s chest. Here, thevampire presents a perverse mockery of the nursing mother: rather than giving life byoffering milk, the count tries to ensure Mina’s death by feeding her his blood. Symbolscommonly viewed as male become female, and vice versa: aggression becomes stupor,and milk is transformed into blood. The entire scene defies gender categories, whichwould be especially troubling to Victorian audiences who relied upon rigid categories tostructure their lives. In a world governed by reason and order, Dracula can pose nogreater threat than by disordering gender roles.The feeding ritual in Harker’s room perverts not only the image of a mother nursing herchild, but also the image of the Eucharist. The Christian ritual of Communion celebratesChrist’s sacrifice through the ingestion of the wafer and wine, which, depending on onesbeliefs, either represent Christs flesh and blood or literally become them throughtransubstantiation. Participating in the Eucharist, some believe, confers immortal lifeafter death. Dracula, by contrast, consumes real—not symbolic—blood. Though theblood grants the count immortality, his soul is barred from achieving anything thatresembles Christian grace. Renfield, who lives according to Dracula’s philosophy, goesso far as to discredit the notion of a soul. Indeed, according to Dr. Seward’s diary, thepatient “dreads the consequence—the burden of a soul.” Much of Van Helsing’s arsenalagainst the count comes from Catholic symbolism, including the crucifix and holyCommunion wafers. Given the rising religious skepticism in Victorian society—asDarwin’s theory of evolution complicated universal acceptance of religious dogma—Stoker’s novel advocates a return to the more superficial, symbolic comforts andprotections of the church. Stoker suggests that a nation that ignores religion and devotes
itself solely to scientific inquiry dooms itself to unimaginable spiritual dangers.Chapters XXII–XXVSummary: Chapter XXIIIn his journal, Harker recounts the end of Renfield’s story: before escaping the asylum,the count pays one last visit to the lunatic, breaking his neck and killing him. Harker andhis compatriots go to Carfax the next day and place a Communion wafer in each ofDracula’s boxes of earth, rendering them unfit for the vampire’s habitation. Before themen proceed to the count’s estate in Piccadilly, Van Helsing seals Mina Murray’s roomwith wafers. When he touches her forehead with a wafer, it burns her skin and leaves abright red scar on her forehead. Mina breaks down in tears, calling herself “unclean.”Summary: Chapter XXIIIThe men obtain keys to Dracula’s other houses around the city. Holmwood and Morrishurry off to sterilize the twelve boxes that are stored in London, while Harker and VanHelsing leave to do the same to the boxes in Piccadilly. Reaching Piccadilly, the men findonly eight boxes—the ninth is missing. Mina sends a message that Dracula has leftCarfax, and the men anticipate that he will soon arrive at Piccadilly in an attempt toprotect his boxes. The men lie in wait, and Dracula arrives. As it is daytime, however, thecount is largely powerless. Van Helsing’s crew attempts an ambush, but Dracula leaps outa window and escapes.Despite Dracula’s taunts, Van Helsing believes that the count is probably frightened,knowing that he has only one box remaining as a safe resting place. Van Helsinghypnotizes Mina in an attempt to trace Dracula’s movements. Under the trance, Mina’sunholy connection to the count enables her spirit to be with him. Mina hears the telltalenoises of sea travel, which indicates that the count has fled England by sea. Jonathanrecords his fears that Dracula may elude them, lying hidden for many years while Minaslowly transforms into a vampire.Summary: Chapter XXIVVan Helsing’s band discovers that the count has boarded a ship named the CzarinaCatherine, which is bound for Varna, the same Russian port from which Dracula sailedthree months before. Van Helsing delivers an impassioned speech in which he declares itnecessary to defeat Dracula for the good of humankind. He claims that the group“pledged to set the world free.”Van Helsing notes the effect that the “[b]aptism of blood”has had on Mina and insists thatshe should not be troubled with or further compromised by their hunt for the count. Themen make plans to intercept Dracula in Varna, and Mina insists on accompanying them,saying that her telepathic connection to Dracula may aid their search. Van Helsingconcedes, and Harker departs to make the necessary travel arrangements.Summary: Chapter XXVBefore departing, Mina asks the group to pledge that they will, for the sake of her soul,destroy her if should she transform into a vampire. The men take a solemn vow to comply
with Mina’s wishes. On October 12, they board the Orient Express and make their way toVarna, where Van Helsing arranges to board the Czarina Catherine immediately after itsarrival in port.As the days pass, Mina grows weaker. After more than a week of waiting in Varna, theband receives word that Dracula’s ship has bypassed Varna and docked in the port ofGalatz instead. As they prepare to board a train to Galatz, Van Helsing suggests thatMina’s connection to Dracula may have enabled the count to learn of their ambush. VanHelsing insists that they not lose hope, however, -reasoning that the count is nowconfident that he has eluded them and will not expect any further pursuit.Analysis: Chapters XXII–XXVWhen the Communion wafer singes Mina’s forehead, the fight against Dracula’s eviltakes on added meaning. The men decide that their efforts also represent a fight to restorea woman to her unpolluted, virtuous self. From the beginning of the novel, Mina hasproven herself resourceful and dedicated, sticking by both Jonathan and Lucy throughtheir illnesses and faithfully transcribing journal entries in hopes of revealing the path toDracula. Nonetheless, Mina never truly emerges as a complex or particularly believablecharacter. Stoker’s guiding principle in his characterization of Mina is not realism, butidealism. In Mina, Stoker means to create the model of Victorian female virtue. Ascontemporary readers, we are likely to find fault when Harker says, “Mina is sleepingnow, calmly and sweetly like a little child. Her lips are curved and her face beams withhappiness. Thank God, there are such moments still for her.” Harker’s words liken hiswife to a helpless infant, whose greatest contribution to the world is merely a peacefulcountenance.The prejudices of the Victorian age partly account for Stoker’s reduction of his femalecharacters to mere bundles of virtue. There is another reason for Mina’s two-dimensionality, however—one that is articulated by Dracula himself. Confronted by VanHelsing and his eager hunters, the count explains the planned course of his revenge,declaring, “Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and othersshall yet be mine.” This statement describes the full scope of the threat Dracula presents.Van Helsing and company are not fighting for Mina’s soul because they respect femalepurity in some abstract form, but because Dracula’s influence over English women giveshim direct access to both the minds and bodies of English men.This threat explains the violence that the men—and even Mina—feel is justified inprotecting themselves from the count’s spell. Mina urges her comrades to kill her shouldshe slip irretrievably into a demonic and soulless state. Mina’s words—“Think, dear, thatthere have been times when brave men have killed their wives and their womenkind, tokeep them from falling into the hands of the enemy”—attempt to explain away a linkbetween male supremacy and violence against women. Men are justified in killingwomen to preserve their sense of ownership and their conception of female virtue. Withthe promise of this power in hand, men can rest assured of the patriarchal order of theirsociety and of their own future control.These chapters, marked by Dracula’s flight across Europe, indicate a shift of power in thenovel: the tables have turned on the count, leaving him on the defensive. The destructionof his resting places exposes Dracula’s greatest weakness, forcing him to flee back to
Transylvania. This flight stands as an important though temporary victory, indicating thatthe count’s attempt to feed upon the English population has failed. For a time, it seemsthat Van Helsing’s band will capture Dracula quickly. However, his deceptive landing atGalatz enables him to elude his pursuers—a reminder that, despite his weaknesses, thecount remains formidable.Chapters XXVI–XXVIISummary: Chapter XXVISeward writes a diary entry while on the train from Varna to Galatz. He notes that Mina’strances reveal less and less, but are still of some value. Mina hears the sound of lappingwater, so the band knows that Dracula remains somewhere close to water. The men hopeto reach Galatz before the box is unloaded, but they are too late. The captain of theCzarina Catherine informs them that a businessman named Immanuel Hildesheim pickedup the box and passed it on to a trader named Petrof Skinsky. Shortly thereafter,Skinsky’s body is found in a graveyard with his throat torn out.After Mina investigates the possible routes that the count could take to return to hiscastle, the band splits up and spreads out. Mina and Van Helsing take a train; Holmwoodand Harker hire a steamboat; and Seward and Morris travel across the countryside onhorseback. Van Helsing hastens toward Dracula’s castle, hoping to purify the place beforethe count’s arrival.During their journey up the river, Jonathan and Arthur hear of a large, double-crewedboat ahead of them and decide this vessel must be Dracula’s mode of transport. Sewardand Morris rush on with their horses. Meanwhile, Mina records that she and Van Helsinghave reached the town of Veresti, where they are forced to take a horse and carriage therest of the way to the castle. Mina thus travels through the same beautiful country that herhusband sees on his journey months before.Summary: Chapter XXVIIVan Helsing pens a memorandum to Seward, writing that he and Mina have reached theBorgo Pass. As they climb the trail toward the castle, Van Helsing finds that he can nolonger hypnotize Mina. That night, fearing for her safety, he encircles her with a ring ofcrumbled holy Communion wafers. The three female vampires who visit Harker monthsbefore reappear. They try to tempt Van Helsing and Mina to come with them and literallyfrighten the horses to death.Van Helsing leaves Mina asleep within the circle of holy wafers and proceeds on foot,reaching the castle the next afternoon. He finds the tombs of the three female vampiresand is nearly paralyzed by their beauty, but forces himself to perform the ritualsnecessary to destroy them. Van Helsing then finds a tomb “more lordly than all therest . . . [and] nobly proportioned.” The tomb is inscribed with Dracula’s name, and theprofessor cleanses it with the Communion wafers. Finally, he seals the castle doors withwafers to forever deny the count entry.Mina and Van Helsing leave the castle and travel east, hoping to meet the others. There isa heavy snowfall, and wolves howl all around them. At sunset they see a large cart on the
road below them, driven by Gypsies and loaded with a box of earth. From a remotelocation, Mina and Van Helsing watch Seward, Morris, Harker, and Holmwood close inon the Gypsies. With the sun rapidly sinking, the men intercept the cart, and the Gypsiesmove to defend their cargo. Harker and Morris muster incredible strength and force theirway onto the cart. Harker flings the box to the ground, and Morris is wounded, buttogether they manage to pry open the lid. Seward and Holmwood aim their rifles at theGypsies.From her vantage point, Mina sees Dracula’s hateful expression turn to a look of triumph.At that moment, however, Harker slashes through Dracula’s throat just as Morris plungeshis knife into the count’s heart. Dracula dies, and as his body crumbles to dust, Minanotes in his face “a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have restedthere.” Morris is fatally wounded, but before he dies he points out that the scar hasvanished from Mina’s forehead.A brief coda follows, written by Harker seven years later. He and Mina have a son namedQuincey, and both Seward and Holmwood are happily married.Analysis: Chapters XXVI–XXVIIStoker reiterates the threat of rampant female sexuality by reintroducing the threevampire women who threaten to seduce Harker in the novel’s opening chapters. Thewomen pose two distinct threats. First, they stand ready to convert Mina, sapping her ofher virtue and transforming her into a soulless vixen. Second, the women threaten toundermine men’s reason and, by extension, the surety with which they rule the world. AsVan Helsing faces the voluptuously beautiful vampires, he is nearly paralyzed with thedesire to love and protect them: “She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, soexquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex tolove and to protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion.” Even therighteous and pious doctor is susceptible to the vampires’ diabolical temptation.In these final chapters, we see a number of opposing forces meet for final battle. Theseoppositions include not merely a conflict between Victorian propriety and moral laxity,but also one between East and West, and one between Christian faith and godless magic.The Gypsies who escort Dracula’s casket to his castle represent the powerful andmysterious forces of the East, of a land ruled not by science and economics but bytraditions and powerful superstitions. Determined to defend the vampire against theseWestern invaders, the Gypsies are part of a landscape that is dark, foreign, and nearlyungovernable to the English. Storms and wolves bedevil Mina and Van Helsing as theymake their way to the count’s lair, and the professor loses his power to hypnotize Mina.Despite the hostility of the landscape and its natives, the invasion is successful. VanHelsing is able to cleanse Dracula’s castle and kill the three vampire women, returningthem to an eternal state of purity and innocence. Stoker creates considerable drama andsuspense when the band finally catches up to the count in the novel’s final pages. Withthe terrifying sunset ominously approaching, the Englishmen’s success hinges on a matterof seconds. They race against time, emerging victorious only after great effort and mortalsacrifice.As Dracula dies, Mina notices a look of peace steal over his face. This moment in thenovel speaks to one of Stoker’s overarching ideas, that of Christian redemption. Though
Dracula can be discussed endlessly as a novel of Victorian anxieties, it is also a novel ofChristian propaganda. It strictly adheres to Christian doctrine, which offers eternalsalvation for those who have cleansed themselves of evil. Worrying that her scar will barher from receiving God’s grace, Mina prays, “I am unclean in His eyes, and shall be untilHe may deign to let me stand forth in His sight as one of those who have not incurred Hiswrath.” In this prayer, Mina voices the wish of each of the other members of the band,whose struggle has been one of good against evil in an orthodox Christian context.The short coda, which describes how the documents have been arranged, mirrors theAuthor’s Note that opens the novel. It is designed to reinforce a feeling of authenticity,assuring us that the events we have read are a matter of documented historical fact ratherthan fiction. In this way, Stoker hopes to bridge the gap between the real and the fictional,the natural and the supernatural worlds.Key FactsFull title · DraculaAuthor · Bram StokerType of work · NovelGenre · Gothic, horrorLanguage · EnglishTime and place written · 1891–1897; London, EnglandDate of first publication · 1897Publisher · ConstableNarrator · Dracula is told primarily through a collection of journal entries, letters, andtelegrams written or recorded by its main characters: Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Dr.John Seward, Lucy Westenra, and Dr. Van Helsing.Point of view · Shifts among the first-person perspectives of several charactersTone · Gothic, dark, melodramatic, righteousTense · Though some of the entries record the thoughts and observations of the charactersin the present tense, most incidents in the novel are recounted in the past tense.Setting (time) · End of the nineteenth centurySetting (place) · England and Eastern EuropeProtagonist · The members of Van Helsing’s gang—Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, JohnSeward, Arthur Holmwood, Mina Murray, and Quincey Morris —might be consideredthe novel’s collective protagonist.Major conflict · A vampire with diabolical ambitions preys upon a group of English andAmerican do-gooders, threatening the foundations of their society until they dedicatethemselves to ridding the Earth of his evil.Rising action · Jonathan Harker learns of Dracula’s evil while visiting his castle tocomplete a real estate transaction; Lucy Westenra becomes increasingly ill under
Dracula’s spellClimax · Lucy is transformed into a vampire; Van Helsing and his comrades mercifullydestroy herFalling action · Van Helsing and company chase Dracula across Eastern Europe, wherethey eventually destroy him.Themes · The promise of Christian salvation; the consequences of modernity; the dangersof female sexual expressionMotifs · Blood; Christian iconography; science and superstitionSymbols · The “weird sisters”; the stake driven through Lucy’s heart; the CzarinaCatherineForeshadowing · The initially unidentifiable wounds on Lucy’s neck foreshadow her fallto the dark side by confirming Dracula’s presence in England.